Monday, February 14, 2011

The Pros and Cons of New and Used

By Kevin Domino, Author of The Perfect Motorcycle

Deciding on the perfect motorcycle requires you to select the style, size and age of the bike. This month we’ll discuss the factors that are affected by the stage of life of the bike.

Motorcycles can be divided into five different types which I call "life cycle stages." These range from a brand-new bike to a collectible motorcycle.

Life Cycle Stages
1. New and Holdover (zero miles)
2. Retired Demo/Training and Late-Model Used
3. Old-Model Used
4. Vintage/Classic
5. Collectible

Life Cycle Stage



New/ Holdover

• Pride of ownership— new bike smell
• Best possible performance and reliability—state-of-the-art
• No worries about previous owner abuse
• Manufacturer’s warranty
• Dealer service and parts available

• Highest price
• Depreciates fastest
• Insurance more expensive
• Break-in and first major service ($) required

Retired Demo/ Training Late- model Used

• Lower cost than new
• Insurance rates lower than new
• Dealer service and parts available
• Excellent performance
• No break-in required
• Often includes aftermarket parts and accessories

• Unsure of appropriate past use
• Not likely, but might be a lemon
• Warranty might not be available

Old-model Used

• Lower cost than newer bike
• Lower insurance rates than newer bike
• Low risk entry point for new riders

• Requirements might exceed performance
• Unsure of appropriate past use
• Warranty not available
• Dealer service not available
• Parts availability more challenging
• More time required than newer bike
• Lower performance than newer bike

Vintage/ Classic

• Lowest bike cost
• Lowest insurance cost
• Lowest risk investment
• Good platform to learn repair and maintenance

• Reliability concerns
• Parts availability sketchy
• Requires owner mechanical knowledge and maintenance
• Lower performance than newer bike


• Pride of ownership— old bike smell
• Some trips become adventures
• Every gas stop turns into a conversation

• Parts sourcing requires lots of effort
• Reliability concerns highest
• Lowest performance
• Every gas stop turns into a conversation

** The preceding is excerpted from the book, The Perfect Motorcycle: How to Choose, Find and Buy the Perfect New or Used Bike. The information provided here will give you a framework to guide your motorcycle inspections and purchases. Space limitations preclude an in-depth discussion of the subject. You can find out about the book at

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

My father really likes vintage motorcycles for his collection. He even uses it once in a while but only seldomly since the parts are so hard to find whenever they are damaged. What he really likes about it is that people will really turn their heads to admire the old but well-maintained motorcycle :)